The times they are a-changin’

Lindsay Stuart with big Ninemile catch

’’In 1964 Bob Dylan’s song, ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’,’ aptly described the conditions fishers of today know about, as they experience a changing fishing scene in New Zealand, brought about by climate change.

Tasman Bay fishers have experienced lengthy snapper seasons over recent years, with snapper being caught in good numbers well into June. Increased water temperatures have expanded spawning opportunities and driven a southerly range expansion.

This southerly range expansion of the snapper fishery has been evident on the South Island’s West Coast, where impressive catches of snapper have been reported south of Hokitika.

Kerry Carmine (front) and Lindsay Stuart benefitting from the bountiful Tasman Bay snapper fishery

The albacore tuna seasonal fishery has also been affected by climate change in the form of increased water temperature, altered wind patterns and ocean acidification. Fishery researchers are busy in this space.

At this stage climate change has benefitted snapper fishers but as change is constant, the future may be problematical with changes on land leading to increased sedimentation and turbidity at sea.

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